The Secret Is Out

Just in case you thought the only balls secret policemen held were the ones they'd severed from unfortunate prisoners, here come two world premieres of the latest episodes in the long-running and deeply respected Secret Policeman's Ball live concert film series. Tonight's debut sees Neil Innes and co-creator Martin Lewis introducing the cycle, which includes Remember the Secret Policeman's Ball (dir. Margaret Kinmonth, 2004, BBC/Amnesty International), commemorating the 25th anniversary of the series itself. Previously the province of incessant airings on cable — along with WarGames, Bill Cosby: Himself and First Blood — this latest installment is a retrospective that has Monty Python's John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Rowan Atkinson, Bob Geldof and Sting reminiscing about what it was all about to begin with — namely, Amnesty International's research and prevention of human rights abuses around the world, not just in former colonies of the British Empire. Bob Geldof went on to spread the meme through the larger rock community with Live Aid, which begat Band-Aid, which begat Farm Aid, and scads of other benefit concerts working on the same principle. Also showing: The Secret Policeman Rocks (2009, Amnesty International), celebrating the series' 30th anniversary, so expect the usual perfunctory brilliance from Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, David Gilmour, Phil Collins and Kate "Let's Not Beat Around The" Bush. Charity fatigue? Not with this lot rocking the way that they do.
Thu., June 11, 9:30 p.m., 2009


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